Derry ‘probably the best in-form team in the country’: Padraic Joyce

Tyrone's Brian Kennedy and Galway's Paul Conroy in action
Galway's Paul Conroy (right) was forced off at half-time against Tyrone and is a doubt to face Derry.

GALWAY boss Padraic Joyce has hailed Derry as “probably the best in-form team in the country” ahead of hosting them in a Division One clash this weekend.

The Tribe boss was up in Celtic Park last Saturday evening to see Mickey Harte’s side dismantle an admittedly understrength Monaghan team and move clear at the top of the table.

The Killererin clubman was impressed by the Oak Leafers, who added to previous victories over Kerry and Tyrone with a double scores defeat of the Farneymen, 3-17 to 0-13:

“A very good side, physically very strong, running game is very powerful. They got three goals from three defenders, the way they run the ball up the pitch.”

However, Joyce’s focus was more on the players he might have available for the visit of Derry, with two more injury concerns accrued to senior stars during the hard-fought one-point win over Tyrone in Omagh, namely Paul Conroy and Mathew Tierney.

“Another challenge. We’ll re-group and reassess who is available at training. Two injured in Mattie and Paul. They are a huge doubt for next week.”

Galway's Pádraic Joyce
Galway's Pádraic Joyce

Conroy did not come back out for the second half in Healy Park, Joyce explaining: “He got a ‘dead leg’, a quad injury so, once he stopped at half-time he couldn’t keep going.”

Tierney slipped in the action of taking a ‘45′ in the second half and hurt his thigh, with Joyce adding “hopefully he hasn’t pulled a muscle, sometimes you get delayed cramp.” Galway will definitely still be without renowned attackers Damien Comer and Shane Walsh, though, confirmed Joyce:

“No, still recovering unfortunately and will be for a while. We have a squad now and we have to stick in a few more from the development squad to try to make it up.”

On the upside, though, Galway were able to give a second half run-out to the inspirational Sean Kelly against Tyrone and he’s likely to get more minutes against Derry if he’s needed, said the Tribe boss: “He’s our captain, he’s our leader, it’s just brilliant to have him back on the pitch. he has a lot of work done. He hasn’t kicked a ball in eight months [for Galway}, I know he has played a bit of club but you have to be careful with him as well. We’ll mind him the next day as well but it’s great to have him out there.”